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Bell's Best Brown - Bell's Brewery, Inc.

Bell's Best BrownBell's Best Brown

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,937 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1937
Reviews: 776
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.52%


Brewed by:
Bell's Brewery, Inc. visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
English Brown Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
A smooth, toasty brown ale with hints of caramel and cocoa, the malt body has the depth to stand up to cool weather, but does not come across as heavy. This balancing act is aided by the generous use of American hops.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002)
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Ratings: 1,937 | Reviews: 776 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Cyberkedi
Cyberkedi

Georgia

4.58/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a semi-transparent chocolaty brown with a fine-bubbled pale tan head. Aroma is of average strength, malty and slightly chocolaty. Rich malty flavor has cocoa undertone along with nutty and caramel hints as well as just a whisper of fine coffee. Texture is thick, fairly smooth and nicely fizzy.

Serving type: on-tap

10-27-2009 01:54:43 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of GordonQuid
GordonQuid

Michigan

4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Nick and Jimmy's in Temperance, MI

Brown with a one inch rocky head and thick lace.

Smells of roasted malts and chocolate toffee.

Taste is a medium bodied sweet cramel and sark malts with a nice coffee-cocoa finish. Low hop profile but there is a bit of a hoppy bite in the finish.

This is a highly quaffable brew! Easy to drink and extremely satisfying.

Serving type: on-tap

10-19-2009 20:32:01 | More by GordonQuid
Photo of boatshoes
boatshoes

Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap in addition to the Two-Hearted at a bar recently on a night out. My second time trying it.

Appearance- Poured a medium to dark translucent brown with medium levels of carbonation and about a half finger of off-white head. Not a huge looker and a bit of a disappointing head, but not particularly off-putting either.

Smell- A touch of coffee and roasted malt. Backed up with large notes of caramel malt sweetness. Not a huge nose, but overall fairly pleasant.

Taste- Pretty one dimensional on the side of sweet caramel malt and coffee. Not a lot of burnt coffee bitterness, just a touch of coffee and sweet caramel dominating. A nice taste and not meant to be overly complicated either I suspect.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel was pretty spot on with just medium levels of carbonation at best. Drinkability was also good and would consider this a nice session beer.

Overall, not my favorite Bell's beer or example of the style, but pretty solid nonetheless. Worth a try for sure.

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2009 04:00:54 | More by boatshoes
Photo of davedahl
davedahl

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this on-tap in Chicago at the Handlebar on North Ave. A pint-pour.

- Smooth medium body, slight caramel aftertaste.
- big brown looking beer. Brown brown brown. Tan head with nice lacing for a brown ale.
- Nutty malt with some biscuit and definitely some browned toast flavor.
- hint of a hop bite in the middle

This was a great drinker. Drinkability is high, and satisfaction is even higher. I went back a couple days later _specifically_ for the Best Brown and they'd rolled the keg already. Drag.

Great stuff - drink it!

Serving type: on-tap

04-17-2009 18:43:13 | More by davedahl
Photo of optiontwo
optiontwo

Minnesota

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Barbette

Appearance: Semi-translucent brown/dark red with a one inch head, decent retention, and very nice lacing for the style.

Smell: Sweet caramel, hazelnut, brown sugar, some dark fruits and slight breadiness.

Taste: Again, sweet caramel, bitter hazelnut, but with some earthy hop finish. This is a really well balanced brown.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light as far as body goes, but still coats the mouth.

Drinkability: High. Lower ABV, not too heavy, flavorful. This is a great session brown.

Overall: Bell's makes solid beers and this is one of the best browns (no pun intended) I've ever had. Pick it up.

Serving type: on-tap

01-31-2009 08:31:59 | More by optiontwo
Photo of biker30x
biker30x

Illinois

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at a little bar just south of Wisconsin (Bell's is truly back in IL). Poured a hazel brown, minimally cloudy with a thin head, only some lacing throughout. The smell was of fresh dark bread and toasted nuts. This carried into the taste which was of rustic brown bread and caramel/malt. Some hop-spice gave a plesant balance. None of which was overly strong. It was satisfyingly full on the tongue but marred by an overabundance of carbonation (I'll blame the bar). Not a style I normally reach for first, but thoroughly enjoyable through 2 pints. 6.6ABV is a slight caution against drinking these all night, especially with friends having 4.4 macros.

Serving type: on-tap

01-29-2009 17:02:40 | More by biker30x
Photo of pasdachuri
pasdachuri

Illinois

3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pretty clear dark copper with a small tan head. Head is extremely sticky and laces well.

Sweet caramel aroma, toffee, slight roast and a touch of hops.

Tastes similar to how it smells. There's a good amount of buttery taste that's pretty smooth, backed up by nutty and malty flavors and a bit sweeter than expected.

Creamy, slightly uneven mouthfeel almost chewy with a mild level of carbonation.

Drinkability is decent as the sweet buttery taste mat become overwhelming after a few.

Serving type: on-tap

01-25-2009 01:50:25 | More by pasdachuri
Photo of thekanna
thekanna

Maryland

3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Nice light coffee color. Slightly cloudy with some substance, and not overly clear like Newcastle, for example.

Smell: Faint roasted malt flavor and some dextrin sweetness.

Taste: Nuttiness upfront with slight caramel flavor. Hops bite towards the end and result in a slightly bitter aftertaste. Carbonation is good and not overwhelming.

Drinkability: Somewhat more a typical brown ale than anything. I can't detect much that distinguishes this otherwise.

Serving type: on-tap

01-12-2009 06:24:46 | More by thekanna
Photo of spointon
spointon

Illinois

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this one on tap at Galway Tribes on 1/7/2009.

A= This ale poured a medium to dark brown color with a sort of fizzy 1/2" tan head that ratained quite a while.

S= This one had a classic malty brown ale aroma with a bit of faint roastiness and some hop bitterness.

T= Unfortunately weak on the palate, but then that is the style. Flavors much the same as in the aroma, just weaker than I thought they would be.

MF= Light side of medium bodied with a creamy feel despite the average to higher carbonation level.

D= Drinkability was ok, but the flavors would not make me want to have it often. About my least favorite Bell's beer so far.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2009 04:25:19 | More by spointon
Photo of Stygr
Stygr

Illinois

3.28/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

dark brown, small tan head. No lacing.

Smelled like a honey brown ale, a little more nutty though

Small about of carbonation, medium bodied ale.

Taste is not what I had entirely hoped for, was dwarfed by the Goose Island Mild winter I had, and if a beer named "mild" dwarfed it, it's obviously pretty mellow on the palate.

I like it as far as browns go, but I couldn't drink this after ANY other beer, or I wouldn't be able to taste it at all. Even a Miller High Life might affect the taste of this beer.

Drinkability suffers from lack of taste.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2009 21:14:43 | More by Stygr
Photo of Zadok
Zadok

Kansas

3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a touch of amber and a decent sized tan head and lots of lacing.

Malty sweet aroma.

Also had a sweet creamy malty flavor.

Mouthfeel is creamy as stated before, maybe a touch watered down. Low carbonation.

Not a bad beer, not sure I would get again but wouldnt deny a free one.

Serving type: on-tap

12-17-2008 00:15:40 | More by Zadok
Photo of BWH3
BWH3

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep, garnet hued brown with a thin lacy chestnut brown head. Retention holds the lacing but I would have liked to see a bigger head. Fairly still with a fine bubble.

S: I would say almost entirely cocoa aroma. A bit of toasted malt scent.

T: A smooth, slightly creamy and largely chocolate palate that finishes dry with a hearty toasted malt presence. A bit of roasted bitter malt also comes in on the palate in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied with a fine moderate carbonation. Fair head retention.

D: I used to drink this on draft when I lived in Indiana and it is nice to see this brown ale out in the Mid atlantic region.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2008 14:47:56 | More by BWH3
Photo of SmithwicksNut
SmithwicksNut

Missouri

3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark brown in color with a tan head. Head retention was pretty good.

S: Moderate malt aroma with some fruitiness. Had some hop aroma to it also.

T: A medium-full bodied beerwith malt and a little roasty sweetness blended in. Had moderate bitterness which blended well.

M: A medium-full bodied beer with good carbonation.

D: a very nice brown ale almost bordering on a porter. I was able to drink a few.

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2008 21:13:03 | More by SmithwicksNut
Photo of ncbeermonger
ncbeermonger

North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't love most brown ales. This one is one of the best American brown Ales you will find.
It is a dark brown, chocolate colors mix with caramels, and fills the pint glass with anything but light.
You can smell hops in this beer, making it (for me at least) a much more pleasant smell than the sour smell you will find in many brown ales.
The beer is smooth, and has no taste of sour, hops are evident. The mouthfeel is not overly heavy, yet not crisp. It is a very drinkable Brown Ale. If you can find this one, give it a shot, even if you don't like say New castle brown ale.

Serving type: on-tap

10-22-2008 05:24:22 | More by ncbeermonger
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this on-tap at Axis in Washington DC.

Pours a clear dark brown color with a one-finger light tan head. The head dissipates into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells good. A good amount of hazelnuts and kind of a buttery smell backed up by a bready malt aroma.

Tastes similar to how it smells. There's a good amount of buttery taste that's pretty smooth, backed up by nutty and malty flavors. There's a tiny amount of bitterness at the end.

Mouthfeel is good. Maybe it's because the taste is buttery that I think this, but it goes down very smoothly.

Drinkability is good. The buttery taste is nice at first, but I could see it wearing on me halfway through another of these.

Overall this is a solid brown ale. It's not as complex as others that I've tried but it does what it does very well. Worth a shot.

Serving type: on-tap

10-19-2008 22:38:33 | More by glid02
Photo of rtratzlaff
rtratzlaff

North Carolina

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker cloudy brown with copper ruby hues. It looks lighter in color than most brown ales. A small off white head dissipates and leaves some slight lace.

SMell is mainly malt with some caramel sweetness.

Taste is interesting and pleasing. Up front there is a crispness from slight carbonation that leaves sweetness from the malt. Caramel flavors are more abundant than any brown ale I've had before. Earthy hop flavors underly the finish and allow the beer to be pretty unique and flavorful.

Brown ales never really explode with flavor, but this one shines in an understated maturity of flavor.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2008 16:36:37 | More by rtratzlaff
Photo of callmemickey
callmemickey

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark chestnut brown... thin tan head

S: Nutty toasted malts...

T: Following the smell, toasted malts are paramount with a nutty character... some hops round out the back end of the flavor

M: Kind of thin for a darker beer... Moderate carbonation is pleasant

D: Easy to drink, not bad over all, I probably wouldn't drink two in a row as the depth isn't quite there

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2008 20:24:33 | More by callmemickey
Photo of Kegatron
Kegatron

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber with a nice frothy covering of light tan head that retained very well and left some great lacing. Aroma possesses deep notes of malt sweetness, bread, and nuttiness.

The tastes is a big hit of bready sweetness, and toasted malts up front but then a nice, tingling hop bitterness comes out amongst all that sweetness and helps even things out. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly creamy carbonation.

With full deep flavors and good balance, this is one tasty and quaffable Brown Ale from Bell's. Solid.

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2008 17:22:41 | More by Kegatron
Photo of OWSLEY069
OWSLEY069

Pennsylvania

2.95/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep copper/ amber/ brown, with a small white head. In the aroma, a small sweet malt, but somewhat bland. In the taste, a sweet maltiness, yet quite thin. A smooth mouthfeel and a dry malty aftertaste. A bit sweeter than a standard brown, however not a big nose. Easy to drink and non offensive.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2007 13:54:01 | More by OWSLEY069
Photo of jjboesen
jjboesen

Maryland

3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This sample was a draught tasted at RFD in Washington DC on October 31, 2007.

Appearance

It begins with thin, oatmeal colored head that settles into a cloudy brown. However, it does possess a rather consistent lacing that clings to the glass; it manages to hold on throughout the drinking process until a secondary swirl scatters it into patches causing the head to reconstitute.

Taste

There is an barely perceptible trace of molasses that I found underwhelming and pedestrian. Of course, since Bell’s is an excellent brewery, this might be a result of improper storage. (And RFD has had previous issues with soapy glassware.) To paraphrase Hi from the movie “Raising Arizona,” my palate was a rocky place on which the taste could not find purchase.

Body

I thought that this sample lacked structure and balance - once again, probably due to storage.

Nose

The nose was pretty much undetectable. All in all, a disappointing beer that probably would have tasted better under circumstances. [The following beer was a bottle of Bell’s Porter – and it was delicious!]

Serving type: on-tap

11-01-2007 21:34:26 | More by jjboesen
Photo of drpimento
drpimento

Wisconsin

3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I dunno, I'm not so impressed with this beer. Although, I've read so many good reviews, I think it must be me. Proly a plugged shnoz or something. Has a hazy brown color. Seems kind of blase to me. Do pick up the typical english brown body and aftertaste. Had a nice head and some lace.

Serving type: on-tap

10-26-2007 03:02:20 | More by drpimento
Photo of soupyman10
soupyman10

District of Columbia

3.73/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber color with some fairly light tan head that dissolves very quickly. No real lacing. Nose is fairly weak, a little bit of a surprise for a Bell's beer. Just a bit of hops and malt, fairly balanced for an English brown. Taste is solid. Lots of sweet caramel malt, but a nice mix of fairly fruity hops as well. This one's pretty sour too, which is unique to most of the English browns I've had. Feel is medium bodied with good carbonation. I like this one a lot. I've yet to have a Bell's beer that I wasn't impressed at. This one isn't there best, but it's a good beer, a little high in ABV to be sessionable, but definitely one I could drink a bunch of.

Serving type: on-tap

08-19-2007 21:08:20 | More by soupyman10
Photo of ClockworkOrange
ClockworkOrange

Pennsylvania

3.63/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears a medium brown color with a finger of light tan head. Smells of nuts, caramel malts, and fruity hops. Tastes of sweet caramel malt, tree nuts, a hint of cocoa, and pleasantly bitter, floral hops. Medium in both body and carbonation. This brown ale drinks very smoothly and certainly does not show it's leaning towards almost 7% ABV.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2007 02:20:53 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of cabsandking
cabsandking

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a simple brown color with amber highlights and a creamy, rocky cream colored head that leaves some good sticky lacing to the end. Aromas of dark sweet fruit, nutty malt, and raisons. The echoes the nose with fruity to nutty malt backbone and nice spice that's reminiscent of nutmeg or cinnamon. Really good floral hop esters that fade somewhat towards the bottom. Cocoa powder lurks in the background and is more detectable in the finish along with short lived dryness and some tart dark fruit notes. Thin body and medium carbonation leaves a slightly watery mouthfeel and fizzy edge. Richer malt flavor picks up as it warms with a bigger emphasis on roasted nut character.

Serving type: on-tap

02-15-2007 22:30:14 | More by cabsandking
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Triple Rock Social Club.

Definately an English brown, as it's a mellow tasting beer. I don't know what's "best" about this. I don't get much complexity of flavor, just some nice chocolate malts. It's nice beer, don't get me wrong, I just wouldn't invest in a 6'er. It is a nice stepup from Newcastle, however. Give it to a friend as a gateway beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-23-2006 07:39:20 | More by tempest
Bell's Best Brown from Bell's Brewery, Inc.
86 out of 100 based on 1,937 ratings.